Gen X & Millennials. Are you reverse mentoring?

So, who’s your reverse mentor? What? You don’t have one? Why not? Don’t worry, there are plenty to choose from, and I’m sure your soon to be reverse mentor is going to be thrilled to help you out.

I’m a firm believer in the concept that everyone needs a coach. I have at least half a dozen of them, some are formal ones, and the rest are ones who I rely upon in situational circumstances. Kind of like on-demand coaches.

Just about everyone has something to offer other people, and Gen X and Millennials are well positioned to play the part of being a reverse mentor. The biggest reason is that they are far more comfortable with most technology than the Baby Boomer generation which did not grow up with some type of electronic device in their hands.

Gen X and Millennials comfort level with learning about technology is second nature to them. I’m not saying that all Baby Boomers are technology challenged, but most will acknowledge their technology mastering learning curve is likely steeper than the other generations.

Some Baby Boomers may have in fact limited their technology savviness to learning only the basics. That’s OK, but since there is so much to learn about various types of technology, it can’t hurt to learn more. Especially when you can have someone show you how to do something. From my perspective, experiential and hands-on learning is one of the best ways to learn.

Social media is certainly one of the technology areas that can be both a blessing and a curse. When I was recently asked if I thought social media was a good thing, I said there are more cons than pros from the perspective of how it doesn’t always represent reality. However, the upside is that it can link people together who might not otherwise have an opportunity to interact outside of their immediate social circle.

Businesses have benefitted enormously from social media, especially smaller ones, as it has in many ways leveled the competitive playing field for them. Competing with larger companies can still be a challenge, but the small to mid-size companies have a stronger chance of competing due to the affordability aspect of social media.

Now, let’s get back to the concept of why you should be either searching for a reverse mentor, or looking to be one for someone who could utilize your help. If you are searching for a reverse mentor, here are some tips on how to find one.

  • The reverse mentor is comfortable having a conversation beyond the digital world they are often communicating in.
  • Many marketing and sales people are very savvy social media practitioners, and often they have to be as part of their job responsibilities. So, Gen X and Millennials in these roles would be a good place to start your search.
  • Considering having reverse mentors from multiple generations also makes sense, as they are going to have different perspectives and knowledge relating to both technology, and viewpoints on other numerous topics (e.g., what motivates people in their generation, culture).
  • If you have a Human Resource department, ask your contact who they would recommend as a reverse mentor. Perhaps you might be a trendsetter in your office with this request!
  • Talk to your friends about whether they know a Gen X or Millennial they would recommend.
  • If you have a Gen X or Millennial in your family, ask them who they would consider as a pairing for you, or perhaps its them who could mentor you.

Of course, Gen X and Millennials have lots more to offer than their technology prowess, so start leveraging their skills and strengths. I guarantee you will have a new perspective on their generation after engaging with them in a reverse mentoring scenario. Most importantly, have fun with this experience, and be open to learning more than you could imagine.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of MarketMe Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer who has a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.

Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging teams (sports & business). What does this do for our clients? It provides them with an acceleration boost to reach their goals sooner, and interact with a renewed efficiency, focus and energy level.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

How to talk to anyone, anytime.

 

Have you ever wondered why it seems effortless for some people to be able to talk to almost anyone, anytime or anywhere? With technological gadgets seemingly taking over our lives each day, the art of face to face conversation is something fewer people, especially the millennial generation are becoming skilled at, or practicing on a regular basis. However, what if you or they knew about a simple technique which would allow you to easily have a conversation with anyone you desired? Would you want to know how to do this? Would it help you personally or professionally? I going out on a limb and admitting this is a rhetorical question.

About twenty-five years ago while we were having lunch at work, a good friend of mine asked me what I perceived to be a very simple yet deep question. She asked me how I could so easily have conversations with everyone I encountered. Upon hearing this question, I realized perhaps this was not something everyone could easily do, and I took it for granted the ability to converse with others came so easily to me. I then thought about what had I done differently in my life to make conversing with others happen so naturally and with ease? This answer might surprise you, and it is a two-part response.

The first part of answering this question about why I find it easy to talk to anyone is because I have always found it easy to talk to other people due to the fact I am genuinely interested and curious to learn more about them. The only way I know how to learn more about other people is to ask them questions, and not be afraid to do so. Typically, I will ask an open-ended type of question which does not permit a yes or no answer, and which allows me to naturally ask follow on type of questions. When I began explaining to my friend who wanted to know how to more easily speak to anyone about anything at any time, I told her what now looking back is one of the greatest and easiest things to teach someone. I explained to her all you need to do is to have a few simple questions you can ask someone which will get them talking.

Examples of the types of questions I shared with my friend were to have her start out with asking someone if they had any travel plans, or had recently been to someplace they would recommend to others. This could be either related to a trip, or an experience they had doing something different than their normal daily routine, and which they would be very willing to share information about (e.g., they went white water rafting). What you might not realize is that people love talking about themselves, even if they are shy. By asking them an open-ended type of question, you allow them to feel comfortable with talking to someone, and this then allows the person they are conversing with to ask additional questions. The result of this conversational exchange is it can often lead to a fascinating conversation you would not otherwise have had.

Upon having had thousands of conversations with people in my lifetime, what I am most surprised by, and I think you will be too, is how once you get someone talking, you will be amazed at how infrequently they will reciprocate and ask you questions back. People who are skilled at conversing will ask you questions back, and more than a few of them. However, many people will not, and this is a shame because the more you converse with others, the skilled you become as a conversationalist. This enhanced skill can ultimately lead to a lifetime of opportunities you would not otherwise have it you did not begin your conversation in the first place. By conversing with others, you are planting the seeds of developing a relationship with the individual, and allowing them to more easily converse with you again. By asking people questions, they will also be more inclined to like you as a person, and let’s face it, I always tell people you can never have too many friends.

If you have not had a conversation with a stranger or someone you only slightly know, give this conversational technique a try. You will be amazed at the possibilities of where the conversation can or will take you, and if nothing else, you will have practiced the art of conversation which everyone should be working on mastering, just like learning how to read body language is an important life and business skill.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.